Whether you’re new to online betting or a more experienced sportsbook user, you’ve likely come across some big bonuses sportsbooks shell out into try to grab your business.
The word “free” often appears — free bets, risk-free bets, etc. And sometimes, these free bets can max out at $1,000 or more.
You’re not alone if you feel a bit skeptical about such claims. Are they too good to be true? It depends on how you look at it. Let’s dive in and look at free bets vs. risk-free bets.
Best sportsbook free bet offers and promotions
When licensed online sportsbooks are live in Massachusetts, you’ll see the top bonuses and free bets offers at legal sportsbooks here.
How do free bets work?
Sportsbooks are fighting to win customers over as competition continues in states where sports betting is legal, and that could include MA online sports betting if Massachusetts ends up legalizing the activity. One way to do that is to entice new users with a sportsbook welcome bonus in the form of a free bet.
A free bet is when a sportsbook offers you a sum of money to place a wager of your liking. You can bet on any sport you wish for the most part. In some cases, the book will require you to place the total bet at once, but some sites will allow you to spread it out more.
Usually, you will not get to keep the free bet itself, rather just the winnings that you got from it, if any. For instance, if you bet $10 at +100 odds on the DraftKings Sportsbook app and won, you would end up with $20 — your original wager plus $10 in winnings. If that were a free bet, though, DraftKings would keep the initial free bet stake, and you would receive the $10 profit.
There are rare cases when you keep the free bet along with any winnings, so keep an eye out for those.
How do risk-free bets work?
Risk-free bets are generally available to new customers. For instance, if you sign up at FanDuel Sportsbook, you will be eligible for a $1,000 risk-free bet.
These bets often work similarly to reimbursements. You’ll put money into your account and place a bet as usual, and if the bet wins, you’ll keep your profits and continue playing as normal. If the bet doesn’t win, the sportsbook will refund your original wager as site credits or a risk-free bet.
It’s essential to check the terms of the risk-free bet, as there may be a limit on what types of wager you can place. These types of bets usually come with a time limit, so be sure to place your wager before it expires.
What is the maximum free bet you can get right now?
Some large bonuses are going on right now in other legal betting states, with each sportsbook trying to one-up the next. Here are a few of the largest potential free bets available to new users:
- Caesars Sportsbook — Matching free bet up to $1,250 on deposit (min $50 deposit).
- DraftKings Sportsbook — First-deposit bonus up to $1,000.
What is the maximum risk-free bet you can get right now?
While you can sometimes spread your free bet balance around on different games, a risk-free bet usually requires you to bet it all at once. Here are some of the largest potential risk-free bet offers right now:
- BetMGM Sportsbook — Risk-free first bet up to $1,000.
- FanDuel Sportsbook — Up to $1,000 risk-free first bet.
- PointsBet Sportsbook — Two risk-free wagers up to $2,000.
- Betway Sportsbook — Up to $1,000 risk-free first bet.
These bets can change, so be sure to check each site before signing up.
Is there a maximum you can win on a free bet?
There is usually no limit to what you can win with your free bet, but many sportsbooks will limit you from taking heavy favorites and have a minimum odds level. Although there are no limits in most cases, some sportsbooks will release the bonus through playthrough requirements, which we will discuss shortly.
Can you combine free bets & risk-free bets with odds boosts?
There are specific rules that will apply to free bets or risk-free bets at most sportsbooks. Generally, you will not be able to use these types of bets with odds boosts, teasers, round robin bets, etc. Here are some other standard rules you’ll find, so remember to read the terms and regulations for each site.
- You generally need to use a free bet in its entirety (not split up into different wagers).
- Free bet value won’t be part of the return.
- One free bet per bet slip.
- Free bets can be time-sensitive.
- Usually has to be a straight bet (no round robins, etc.).
- Must verify your location.
- One free bet per household.
What are the main ways people use a free bet or risk-free bet?
How you use your free sports bet is ultimately up to you, but there are a few strategies.
Some are comfortable betting it all on a favorite to give themselves the best odds of some sort of payback. Another option you might want to consider is betting on a heavy underdog and then hedging your bet.
For example, say you took the Jacksonville Jaguars to beat the Tennessee Titans at +700 and placed a $100 free bet. Winning that bet would result in $700 in profit. You could hedge this bet by taking the Titans on another ticket to be guaranteed a profit no matter which team wins.
Can I cash out the winnings from free bets and risk-free bets right away?
The rules for free bets and risk-free bets tend to differ regarding your cash-out options. First, let’s talk about free bet promotions.
For instance, say you receive a $50 free bet. You then wager that $50 and win $40. When this happens, the free bet stake of $50 will disappear, and you will have the $40 profit. In most cases, you will be able to cash this amount out immediately.
Claiming risk-free bets online can be a little trickier. Let’s say you deposit $500 and receive a $500 risk-free bet to place in one shot.
If you win, you’ll carry on as usual and will be able to cash out your deposit and profit no problem. But if you lose, the sportsbook will credit your account with $500 of “free bet” money.
You will usually not be able to cash this out until you “play through” an equal amount of your free bet. So, you would have to wager a total of $500 of that free bet before you could cash any winnings from it out.
What are playthrough requirements for free bets & risk-free bets?
A playthrough requirement is when you need to wager a certain amount of your free money or bonus before you can withdraw it.
Generally speaking, when a sportsbook gives you a deposit bonus, free bet or risk-free bet, it will require you to play through a multiple of the bonus or combined deposit and bonus before you can cash the bonus money out.
The amount of time this can take will vary, depending on how big your bets are. Be sure to read through the terms and conditions before deciding on a sportsbook.
Which sports can I get free bets for?
These bets are usually eligible for all the sports that a book offers. This means you can focus on what you know best and bet with confidence.
You could come across a special promotion where the bet is only available for a specific sport, but this is not the norm. As always, be sure to read the terms and conditions.
Are free bets & risk-free bets worth it?
Free bets and risk-free bets are beneficial to both the sportsbook and the customer. Although these kinds of bets do come with rules and caveats, it’s still possible to set yourself up with a nice bankroll.
The sportsbook benefits from getting a new customer and all of your information that it can use to keep you as a customer.
Users, meanwhile, have a freeroll to try to maximize their profits with. If you were already planning on making a deposit with a sportsbook, there really is no downside to being offered a free bet in some form. It’s still important to treat your freeroll like real money and make intelligent bets.
What other sportsbook bonus options are there?
While free bets and risk-free bets are two of the most common ways to entice new users to a site, the best online sportsbooks have no shortage of other bonus options, and they come in many shapes and sizes. Here are a few:
Money-back free bets
This is when a site will offer your money back if a specific action happens during the game. For instance, Betway will often have a promotion that will provide your money back on an NBA game if your team loses but the last basket of the game by either team is a 3-pointer.
Matched bet bonus
This is similar to a risk-free bet but has an advantage. With a matched bet bonus, you will make your deposit and place your first bet. If you lose, you will receive free money equivalent to your bet, just like you would with a risk-free bet. However, if you win, you get the matched bet amount as well.
No deposit bonuses
No deposit offers are fun because they require zero upfront money from you. They are usually a smaller bonus, in the $10 to $20 range, and will require you to play through the amount before you can cash out.